By SEAN MURPHY (AP) – 6 hours ago
Oklahoma now has two women vying to fill the seat of governor of the state.
After a come-from-behind victory in the Democratic gubernatorial primary, current Lieutenant Governor Jari Askins wins to face an anti-choice Sarah Palin-backed GOP candidate, Congresswoman Mary Fallins.
While not full-throatedly pro-choice, Lt. Governor Askins supports women's access to abortions in "hard cases," a more moderate position than avowedly anti-choice Fallin. Oklahoma is among the most anti-choice states in the country, the legislature having earlier this year voted in a "compulsory ultrasound" law for women seeking abortions and approved public posting of information on women who receive abortions. Askins' message of gender equality through pay equity resonated with women voters, so it'll be interesting to see how Fallin responds on that issue.
Askins also benefited from last-minute support from a popular football coach who had also campaigned for sitting Governor Brad Henry previously. She's demonstrated a bipartisan approach so far, emphasizing bread and butter issues like jobs and education.
It's important to note that for all of Palin's vaunted popularity among hard-right Tea Party Republicans, endorsement from the former half-term governor can just as likely be the kiss of electoral death as a boost.
Why? The quitter from Wasilla consistently turns off most moderates and an overwhelming percentage of liberals. One blogger notes that her 29% favorability rating makes her about as popular as George W Bush was--quite a feat when she hasn't yet had an opportunity to launch two costly and unsuccessful wars or tank the economy. That makes it hard for her strident persona to translate into electoral success--she's a hothouse orchid who blooms best in the overheated swamps of Faux News and the fact-free right-wingosphere. We'll see if Oklahoma's moderates outnumber its hard-right ideologues, and if Askins can get Democrats and independents out to vote.
Cynematic blogs at P i l l o w b o o k.